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Test notes and methods
Here's are the essential details for all the drives we tested:

  Interface Flash controller NAND
Adata SD700 External SSD USB 3.1 Gen 1 Silicon Motion SM2258 32-layer Micron 3D TLC
Samsung 850 EV0 2TB SATA 6Gbps Samsung MHX 32-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung Portable SSD T3 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Samsung MGX 48-layer Samsung TLC
Samsung Portable SSD T5 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Samsung MGX 64-layer Samsung TLC

USB 3.1 Gen 1 drives were connected to the motherboard via USB 3.0 port. USB 3.1 Gen 2 drives were connected via a 3.1 Gen 2 add-in card. The 2.5" drives were connected via a USB 3.0 drive dock for SATA drives.

We used the following system for testing:

Processor Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz
Motherboard Asus Z97-Pro
Firmware 2601
Platform hub Intel Z97
Platform drivers Chipset: 10.0.0.13
RST: 13.2.4.1000
Memory size 16GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Adata XPG V3 DDR3 at 1600 MT/s
Memory timings 11-11-11-28-1T
Audio Realtek ALC1150 with 6.0.1.7344 drivers
System drive Corsair Force LS 240GB with S8FM07.9 firmware
USB 3.1 Gen 2 card Rosewill RC-509
Drive dock StarTech USB 3.1 Single-Bay Dock
Power supply Corsair AX650 650W
Case Fractal Design Define R5
Operating system Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Thanks to Asus for providing the systems' motherboards, to Intel for the CPUs, to Adata for the memory, to Fractal Design for the cases, and to Corsair for the system drives and PSUs.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

  • IOMeter 1.1.0 x64
  • TR RoboBench 0.2a

Some further notes on our test methods:

  • To ensure consistent and repeatable results, the SSDs were secure-erased before every component of our test suite. For the IOMeter database, RoboBench write, and RoboBench copy tests, the drives were put in a simulated used state that better exposes long-term performance characteristics. Those tests are all scripted, ensuring an even playing field that gives the drives the same amount of time to recover from the initial used state.

  • We run virtually all our tests three times and report the median of the results. Our sustained IOMeter test is run a second time to verify the results of the first test and additional times only if necessary. The sustained test runs for 30 minutes continuously, so it already samples performance over a long period.

  • Steps have been taken to ensure the CPU's power-saving features don't taint any of our results. All of the CPU's low-power states have been disabled, effectively pegging the frequency at 3.5GHz. Transitioning between power states can affect the performance of storage benchmarks, especially when dealing with short burst transfers.

The test systems' Windows desktop was set at 1920x1080 at 60Hz. Most of the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.